Dear Mayor Schuh:
I have given careful attention to your letter of December 1,
1975 urging me to consider restructuring the Southwest Florida
Water Management District Governing Board during the upcoming
Each of the respective water management districts is
faced with a broad spectrum of water related problems and
challenges brought on by the unprecedented growth our state
has experienced and the prolonged drought which has plagued
peninsular Florida during the past 15 years.
I have watched the development of water management dis-
tricts closely while serving both as senator and as governor
and have given particular attention to the organizational
differences between Central & Southern Florida Flood Control
District (FCD), with its district-wide, single basin operation,
and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWF) with its
multi-basin approach. There's much to be said for centralized
control but there are many benefits to be derived from having
individual, localized basin boards such as your Pinellas-Anclote
Water Management Basin.
As you are well aware, the basin board has control over its
own budget and must give prior approval to final construction
plans for district works to be constructed in its basin. This
also provides anopportunity for each basin board to supply
meaningful input into district decisions affecting more than one
basin. John Anderson served the Pinellas-Anclote Basin well
in this capacity during his tenure on the Governing Board, and
I am confident that Lewis Homer is continuing this service.
As these two districts have begun implementing programs
for the issuance of permits authorizing the consumptive use of
particular quantities of water, it becomes increasingly apparent
that the water resource problems in south Florida vary from those
in your southwest area, both in magnitude and complexity.
The flood control district has an extensive system of canals,
dikes and structures and allocates water primarily from surface
flows on a system based upon what it refers to as its "water
Southwest Florida Water Management District, on the other
hand, has a number of smaller hydrologic units or basins, and
has had to develop rules more accurately measuring and allocating
ground water. By its rules, it states "water crop" is precipi-
tation less evapotranspiration. It further provides that "except
where determined otherwise, the water crop throughout the district
will be assumed to be 365,000 gallons per year per acre and
that issuance of a permit will be denied if the amount of water
consumptively used will exceed the water crop of lands owned,
leased, or otherwise controlled by the applicant. Its rules
provide that the board for good cause shown may grant exceptions
to this provision when, after consideration of all data presented,
including economic information, it finds that it is consistent
with the public interest. 16J-2.11, Fla. Admin. Code.
I fail to find any provision in the rules of SWF which
establish "water crop" as a property right or interest.
I'm sure you know that the rules and orders of SWF are subject
to review, not only through the courts but also by the governor
and cabinet sitting as the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission.
I am aware of the need your city has for a continuing supply
of potable water and the problems experienced in recent years.
I sincerely hope the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority
can help meet this need for all the people in the central west
coast area. Your city is to be commended for its efforts in
helping form the authority. Cooperation between governmental
units in your area is essential if the needs of all the people
are to be met, including not only a good, economical supply
of water, but also protection for all of the water resources.
Close attention will be given to all legislative proposals
and action, especially those relating to our water resources.